Global HR round-up

Managers in Ireland are more stressed than the terminally ill

Some senior managers in Ireland are so stressed by work that they have a lower quality of life than the terminally ill, according to research from the Royal College of Surgeons in Dublin.

Ciaran O’Boyle, a professor of psychology at the college, studied the experiences of more than 130 managers, using a measure normally employed to assess hospital patients’ quality of life.

“For senior managers, the quality of life was lower than any group of patients we looked at, including the terminally ill and those with motor neuron disease,” he said.

O’Boyle, who is conducting a stress study for the Irish Management Institute, found the problem particularly acute for employees of foreign-owned companies.

“If the parent company is based on the US west coast, for instance, it creates a whole time-lag difficulty, but there is an increasing sense that managers are expected to be available 24 hours a day, seven days a week,” he said.

Euro fund set to help retrain victims of globalisation

The European Commission (EC) is planning to launch a fund of up to £343m to help workers who have lost their jobs because of globalisation.

The European Globalisation Adjustment Fund, which could benefit up to 50,000 workers in the EU every year, was proposed by Jose Manuel Barroso, president of the EC.

Spidla Vladim, EU commissioner for employment, said: “In a globalised economy, some workers in particular sectors regrettably lose their jobs.”

The fund would be available to offer new skills training and promote entrepreneurship among workers who have been laid off or who lose their jobs due to a major company restructuring as result of relocation.

Ireland charged for flouting aviation work-time limits
Ireland has been censured by the European Court of Justice (ECJ) for failing to comply with an EU directive that imposes working-time limits in the civil aviation sector.

This made an agreement struck by the Association of European Airlines, the European Transport Workers’ Federation, the European Cockpit Association, the European Regions Airline Association (ERA) and the International Air Carrier Association law. It gave EU member states until December 2003 to write its terms on maximum hours and rest periods into their national laws, but Ireland missed this deadline.

The court heard that its transport ministry officials were still drafting the law, “which has been the subject of discussions with the occupational sector concerned”. The court said Ireland had “failed to fulfil its obligations” under EU law, and should pay the case’s costs.

French seek competitive edge through etiquette classes
French employers are being offered the opportunity to improve professional business and international etiquette, at the new Minding Manners school in Paris.

According to founder Tamiko Zablith, manners increasingly matter in the business world. “Technical skills and knowledge account for 15% of the reason you get a job, keep a job and advance in a job,” she said.

“But 85% of job success is based on social or people skills.”

International clients, for example, learn not to call French colleagues by their first name and to mind their manners at business meals, she said.

 “A professional who can confidently greet colleagues, handle introductions and demonstrate dining and entertaining savvy operates from a position of strength and authority,” said Zablith.

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